Monday, 23 May 2011

Training Training Training

NZ champs was the perfect motivation for me to start enjoying my training again. I'm not saying I wasn't having fun before, but now I'm looking forward to each session and always have a specific focus or goal in mind. I had some good results at Nationals, but technically there was a lot of room for improvement in my orienteering.
I have been working quite a lot in my part time job at shoe science, so that I can save towards moving to Finland in June. This means that most of my training has to be done in the dark. Normally this would be a bit frustrating for me, but right now I'm making the most of it :) I will be running Jukola relay shortly after I arrive to Finland, so to prepare I've been doing a lot of night training in Woodhill forest.
In the first few night sessions I was making a lot of mistakes especially in the vague areas where I couldn't seem to run in a straight line! But my technique has quickly improved. Also it is sometimes hard to know for sure if you are at the right control point because we don't have any markers or controls, just our oxygen deprived brains and 10m of vision. The latest night training I did at a moderate pace, with only a couple of small mistakes (hesitations on #2 and #11 and a mispunch at #25 where I didn't check my compass). With 69min over 11.5km I was quite happy. It was also the biggest training week I have had in 2 years with 151km of running - 37km of which was night orienteering.
My next goal is a 5km time trial next Tuesday where I will attempt to beat my personal record of 15.30. Then I have the Australia vs. NZ test match at the Regal Orienteering Carnival over Queen's Birthday weekend. I will be looking to have some great technical races to build my confidence before heading to Europe. It will be interesting to see what it's like to run in Woodhill terrain in the day time after so much night training :) I think it will be a challenge to beat the up and coming NZ junior runners, especially the 'O-men', who are running up in men's elite, they all have a lot of experience in Woodhill and I know they've been training extra hard and are frothing at the mouth for JWOC in Poland!

On a final note, here's a video made by Mick Finn from NZ champs with my Route:

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Double National Champ!

Well then, from the title of this blog you can see that the NZ Champs at Easter weekend in Hawkes Bay went better than expected!

As I mentioned earlier I was the mapper and planner of the NZ sprint Champs on Friday afternoon. It was great weather and such a nice event centre, so it was so good to finally relax (sort of) and enjoy all the hard work that myself and my club mates had put into this event! The map covered two private girls schools in Havelock North, Woodford House and Iona College. Here's a snippet of the building detail in Woodford House. There were a lot of canopies and weird shaped buildings with stairs and height differences which made it really interesting for route choice legs. Have a look at the routegadget to see the courses and winners routes. The winner of the Men's Elite grade was Toby Scott. Toby is still a junior and will be competing at JWOC in Poland this year. He ran up in the elite grade because the NZ champs were also the trials for WOC. After Toby's performance it looks like he will be my team mate in France this year, but we are still waiting on the team to be named! The Women's Elite winner was Lizzie Ingham. Another impressive performance was by Kate Morrison (my little sis) who won the W20 grade, and had a faster time than Lizzie on the same course. So the sprint turned out to be a day for the Juniors. It's exciting as the quality and standard of NZ orienteers seems to be improving - it will be interesting to see some world class performances in the next few years!
See winsplits for the sprint here.

The middle distance was held on a new map called 'Fire Station'. This is on the Maraetotara plateau adjacent to one of Hawkes Bay's most well known maps. It consisted of areas of detailed rock over open farmland, some pine-forest of varying run-ability and NZ native bush. Finally it was my chance to race. I was itching to compete in orienteering again since I had regained my fitness level of last year. I had some problems in the beginning of the race with controlling my speed, this is something I will have to work on as I am getting faster. I also made a couple of mistakes after the spectator control where I was a bit unsure of the map and hesitated a bit, then got distracted by the camera man. I made one bad route choice later on in the course (#15-16) but apart from this my race went well enough to win! It was a good feeling as always to win a national title!
See winsplits and routegadget for the Middle.

The Long was again a new map, a bit further south of Maraetotara this time. This map was a lot more farmland with more intricate areas of rock detail. This proved very hard to read while running on 1:15000. I made a lot of mistakes in the beginning of the course, on #2, #6, #7 and then I got really stuck in the 'white' forest leaving from #7 and lost nearly 1min. I didn't give up after these mistakes, I thought that if I am finding this difficult then so must everyone else! So I pushed through the rest of the course, only making some smaller mistakes. I managed to win by over three minutes so I was really happy. It would have been nice not to make any mistakes and have a huge win, but 3mins is still enough for me :D
See winsplits and routegadget for the Long.

The relay was the final competition for me. I ran first leg for my NZ club HBOC. There was a very elaborate forking system and butterfly loops on first leg which made it a pretty cool course! I had a huge forking on the first control and then ran really fast to catch the leaders again, but it was too fast I guess and I lost 1min 30 on the 3rd control. I managed to pass everyone (except Karl Dravitski who had a commanding lead) through the butterfly loops. I then pushed ahead of the main pack to chase Karl, but I had no idea he was ahead, I actually thought I was leading. I went really well for the rest of the course until the 2nd to last control where I lost over a minute. I had a lot of trouble understanding the map in the control circle. I was just standing still trying to make sense of anything I could. I got caught by the pack and was passed by 4 runners. I managed to find the control and then pass 3 of these runners and then had a really exciting finish sprint with my little brother Duncan for a 3rd equal finish on first leg. Unfortunately my little sister Kate didn't have a good run either and our last leg runner mispunched so we were disqualified. The winning team was PAPO, with superman Carsten Jørgensen on the last leg it was hard for any teams to match the pace!

So overall, I was very happy with my results from the NZ Champs, but there's a lot of work to be done!! I've already been out for 2 night trainings in Woodhill forest after coming back up to Auckland, and I can feel my navigation improving every time! This is a crazy butterfly loop training set by NZ junior Matt Ogden. You can see I'm starting to make less mistakes than usual :)